March 2004

A Conscious Evolution Newsletter

 

 

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Evolutionary Astrology, Part 1

Reiki Q & A

Compatibility in Vedic Astrology

PowWow: Get Up and Dance!

"Rainbow Light Circle" Lexigrams

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March Star Watch

March
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Volume 3, No. 3

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Star Watch

by Terri Smallwood

 

Welcome, star watchers, to March, the last official month of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the watery domain of Pisces, the Fish.

There’s no better month to talk about the elusive substance that is consciousness than under the influence of Pisces. Ruled by Neptune and corresponding to the element of water, Pisces is an enigmatic sign. In the natural wheel of the zodiac, Pisces is the 12th and last sign, and as such is often considered to be a very spiritual sign filled with a compassionate wisdom that comes with the accumulated knowledge of the previous 11 signs.

The 12th house rules the unconscious mind. It belongs to a group of houses called the cadent houses. These houses, the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th, and their corresponding signs of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces, form what esoteric astrologers call the Mutable Cross, a name that indicates the shared modality of these four houses.

Within this cross we see two arms: the axis shared by Gemini and Sagittarius and the axis shared by Virgo and Pisces. The first axis runs through the 3rd and 9th houses and gifts both houses with a passion for learning. Learning in the 3rd house takes place through the areas that Gemini and its ruler Mercury are comfortable in; areas that are associated with childhood, such as sibling relationships, primary education and learning through the experiences that come into our daily lives. The 9th house takes these personal experiences and projects them into the world at large. The Sagittarian-influenced 9th house seeks to accumulate knowledge in a more public sphere, via long-distance travel and institutions of higher learning.

The second arm of the Mutable Cross bridges the 6th and 12th houses. This axis is also strongly influenced by the intellect, owing to Mercury’s dual role as ruler of both Gemini and Virgo. However, here the focus is on sharing and disseminating knowledge, rather than simply accumulating experiences. Virgo and Pisces share a passion for service. In Virgo, the notion of service is expressed organizationally and analytically, with a focus on practical work that benefits others. The realm of Pisces and the 12th house is not so concrete. Here we see service expressed as a set of ideals — the quick Mercurial mind of Virgo is immersed into Neptune’s waters, and the strong set of black and white values held by Virgo becomes a palette of greys.

It’s a sad irony that the downfall of Pisces is also in part her best quality. The sympathetic nature of the Fish is so imbued with compassionate understanding for humanity that she often finds herself mired in the greys. This is not the indecisiveness of Libra, nor is it a dispassionate refusal to take a stand. Pisces is so infused with empathic ability that it’s almost impossible for her to take one side against another. She feels deeply the plight of all sides, and understands more than most the wholeness that unites even the most disparate of positions.

However much the Piscean would wish for it to be otherwise, there are two sides to this type of behaviour. The advantages of a compassionate and soulful nature speak for themselves. The flip side is that Pisces’ deep understanding of humanity and her non-judgmental nature allow her to turn something of a blind eye when confronted with behaviour that is less than charming, even downright criminal. There’s a strong association between Pisces and the 12th house and things like smuggling (especially by sea), drug trafficking and drug abuse, alcoholism, and institutions like mental hospitals and prisons. It’s that darn Neptunian energy, so very elusive and so difficult for most of us to understand, let alone apply in a concrete and positive way in our daily lives.

Astrology, like our consciousness, has been in a process of evolution since the very beginnings of time. As human consciousness expanded from an animalistic survival mentality to an understanding of family and tribes, and then further into the realms of art and science, so did astrology. Modern western astrology can trace its roots back thousands of years to the people of ancient Mesopotamia (the land now called Iraq).

The earliest astrology was a study of omens and signs, based on the movements of the most visible of planets and luminaries, the Sun, the Moon, Venus and Mars. As the culture flourished and advances were made in mathematics and astronomy, astrology became ever more complex. An article by Robert Hand, The History of Astrology — Another View, puts together a fascinating chronology of human history and advances in astronomy and astrology that crosses time and culture. Intuitively, it makes sense that as people began to understand observable natural phenomena, such as the regular movement of planets across a sky of fixed stars, their system of astrology would deepen correspondingly.

Does this mean that ancient people did not experience the transformative cycles of Pluto or the karmic transits of Saturn as we do now? No. And yes. Just as a radio needs to be tuned to a particular frequency to receive an audible signal, so does human consciousness. The energy of the outer planets, the ones not observable until the invention of the telescope thousands of years after the development of astrology, has always been available to Earthlings. But our understanding of our planet, its role in the universe and our role upon it needed time to grow. As early astronomers made new discoveries, astrology assimilated the knowledge and increased in complexity. Alongside this growth were advances in philosophy, art, language and religion. Little by little our thinking grew increasingly abstract, our intuition sharpened, our ability to create and appreciate beauty and form expanded.

Neptune, the eighth planet from the Sun, was discovered on September 23, 1846, by German astronomer Johann Galle after eccentricities in the orbit of Uranus pointed the way to this distant gas giant. Neptune’s debut coincided with the rise of transcendentalism; a school of philosophy that originated in Boston in the 1830s and was popularized by American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson’s transcendentalism was a revolutionary school of thought in its day. A reaction to the strictly dogmatic religious belief systems popular at the time, transcendentalism saw a distinct relationship between the universe and the individual soul. Intuition was valued highly and mysticism was practiced to achieve a greater union with the divine essence that transcendentalists saw in the beauty of nature and the arts. Humanity was beginning to feel the effects of an unveiled Neptune.

It was humanity’s growth of consciousness and its need to move beyond purely dogmatic religion (Jupiter) or the stark world of science and intelligence (Uranus) that set the stage for Neptune’s energy to purposefully permeate our consciousness.

Neptune is known as the higher octave of Venus. Venus, with her love of beauty and grace, her desire for merger and her gifts in the arts, is often called the planet of love. Certainly transits of Venus, and Venus aspects in a synastry, do indicate the presence of an important kind of love. Neptune takes this exuberant feeling of physical attraction and infatuation (lightly tinted with a flirty hue of self-absorption) and transforms it into a compassionate and unconditional experience that exists beyond the level of personality and is infused with the power of the soul.

Humanity’s greatest example of this variety of powerful and absolute love — the love that conquers all — came to us in the form of a man often associated with the sign of Pisces, though it is unlikely that he was actually a native of the sign. Jesus, the humble carpenter from Galilee, taught the virtues of unconditional love and forgiveness and helped to create a bridge from the older eye-for-an-eye mentality to a way of life that empowered his followers to stop the vicious cycle of revenge by practicing selfless forgiveness in the face of extreme adversity. To this day, his example and teachings inspire beautiful acts of compassion the world over.

Compassion is the key to the Piscean nature and is its gift for all the signs to embrace. The Age of Pisces began with the sacrifice of Jesus, and now, as we are living through the end of the Piscean Age, the world faces monumental challenges. Violence and hatred are destroying lives across the globe. The Piscean lesson of unconditional love has not yet been fully integrated into our collective consciousness, and at times it feels almost as if there is a force roaming the planet that delights in our difficulties with this lesson. Everywhere we look there are labels and names that separate one race from another, one religion from another, one human from another. As we stand with one foot in the Age of Pisces and one in the Age of Aquarius we must look ahead to the Aquarian values of brotherhood to find this last missing piece of our Piscean Age puzzle. In his 1989 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, His Holiness the Dalai Lama summed up both the lessons and the gifts of Pisces: “True happiness comes from a sense of peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion.”

As we learn to channel the mystical and intuitive energy of far-off Neptune, so we learn to elevate our own standards of love and compassion. It’s an elusive, intangible essence, this gift from deep in space, but the rewards are abundant and apparent. Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men.

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